Midnight Regulations Could Be “Nightmare” for Consumers; AAJ Keeping Eye on 21 Regulations that Could Limit Consumers’ Safety

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Midnight Regulations Could Be “Nightmare” for Consumers; AAJ Keeping Eye on 21 Regulations that Could Limit Consumers’ Safety  

For Immediate Release: November 20, 2008

Contact: Jennifer Fuson
202.965.3500,ext. 8369

Midnight Regulations Could Be “Nightmare” for Consumers; AAJ Keeping Eye on 21 Regulations that Could Limit Consumers’ Safety

Washington, DC—With the deadline approaching for regulations to have 60 days to go into effect before President Bush leaves office, the American Association for Justice (AAJ) will be keeping an eye out for 21 possible regulations that have yet to be finalized that could prove devastating to consumers’ safety and their right to hold corporations accountable for producing dangerous products.   

The list includes regulations that have included “preemption” language that could prohibit using the civil justice system as a means to hold manufacturers responsible for unsafe products.  The regulations include safety standards for over-the-counter drugs, sunscreens, automobile safety standards, and crashworthiness of railroad cars transporting hazardous materials.

“In their final days, we hope the Bush administration will keep in mind the safety of consumers over the corporate profits they have sought to protect time and time again,” said AAJ President Les Weisbrod.

The pending regulations AAJ has been following include six from the Food and Drug Administration, nine from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), three from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), a regulation from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and a regulation from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

Most noteworthy of the regulations yet to be finalized is the federal roof crush safety standard, which has been pending for three years and has not been strengthened since 1973, before SUVs were a popular transportation option.  Each year 10,000 people are killed and roughly 24,000 are injured in vehicle rollover crashes.  The NHTSA estimates their proposed standard would save between 13 and 44 lives per year, an increase less of than one percent of the 10,000 deaths associated with vehicle rollovers. 

The final proposed rule the agency had put out for comment increased the ability of a roof to withstand a force equal to 2.5 times the unloaded vehicle’s weight, a level unacceptable to AAJ because the standard would still result in killing or paralyzing most passengers in rollover accidents.  The proposed final rule also included language that would have given auto manufacturers complete immunity from all lawsuits, leaving them little incentive to make automobiles safer.

To see a copy of the report AAJ released on federal regulations with preemption language included in the proposed or final rule, see http://www.justice.org/Preemption_Rpt.pdf.

“The Bush administration has included preemption language in over 60 proposed or final rules, limiting consumer protections in everything from drug labels, seatbelts, bus safety, and prescription drugs’ supplemental labeling,” added Weisbrod.  “We only hope the Obama Administration will give greater deference to consumer safety and their right to access the civil justice system when harmed.”

To see a list of the regulations AAJ is following that have yet to be finalized, click here.

As the world's largest trial bar, the American Association for Justice (formerly known as the Association of Trial Lawyers of America) works to make sure people have a fair chance to receive justice through the legal system when they are injured by the negligence or misconduct of others—even when it means taking on the most powerful corporations. Visit http://www.justice.org/newsroom.

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